Please tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in the Bahamas. I’ve been in the TV and film business for over 20 years as a makeup artist—and now work in both makeup and design.
I am thrilled to have worked with a very popular home magazine and spent my days looking at the most amazing houses.
Here are three other facts about me:
- I love the beach
- I have a sweet tooth
- I love animals I have had dogs, bunnies, birds, fish, and a duck.
What is the significance behind your business’ name, “Chichi Fringo Designs”?
When I was a student, a teacher told me to not pick your business name based on your ego. Rather, use something other than your own name. This advice was great for many reasons. The first is that when you go to get a website domain or create an Instagram account, it’s hard to come up with something that is not already taken…even your name in many cases!
Chichi Fringo is not Greek, even though it comes from a tiny Greek woman. My mother-in-law uses this phrase every time she sees something she likes or something cute. It’s something original, and fun to say—people always ask what it means so it’s a great conversation starter.
How has growing up in The Bahamas influenced your interior decorating style?
The Bahamas was a great place to grow up. The blue skies, the sound of the ocean, the sand in your toes, the salty sea air. All of your senses are awake there. There is a little bit of this island in everything I do.
It might be one seashell. It might be the use of the color turquoise like the water there. Or, it might be a bold color choice. I don’t like themed rooms, but I like a reminder of where I come from. I think I love to mix colors and textures more than most Canadians, and I can only attribute that to my upbringing.
How did you become interested in professional organizing?
For me, organizing is the first place to start before you design a room. You don’t know what you have or what you even want until after you clear out the clutter!
I also believe that the relief you feel when walking into a well-organized space is palpable. People love the fact that someone is there to help them declutter because they are so overwhelmed that it paralyzes them to even start the process.
Why did you decide to take QC’s online professional organizer certification course?
I graduated from the Interior Decorating course, the Staging for Designers course, the Professional Organizing course, and the Color Consultant course. I enrolled in QC Design School’s online courses for two reasons…
- A home stager I worked with recommended it.
- It was really the only option.
It was impossible for me to quit my full-time job in order to go back to school, I had to try to study around my work schedule and QC’s online design courses made it possible. There was always someone available to answer my questions. And everyone was very friendly and obviously invested in making my experience great.
My experience with my first course, interior decorating, was so great that I continued on with 3 more courses.
I think I want to inspire my students the same way I was inspired; by giving them the best advice I can while also encouraging them to always be better. This is a very detail-oriented business, and a well-trained eye will set you apart. There is no such thing as good enough. You have to be great!
Who is your most popular client? What services do they usually request?
So far, my most popular client is the homeowner who has realized they have space in their home that is not being used to its full potential. They really want to feel proud of their homes, but they just don’t know how to get there.
Through organizing and designing a new space we achieve both functionality and beauty. The majority of the spaces I have designed for clients have been rooms that we have taken down to the bare bones and totally transformed. It’s so rewarding to see the before and after, and of course, the biggest compliment is to be asked to do another room.
When you have a client ask you to have tea in the mudroom you’ve recently redesigned, you know you’ve done a good job making that a space they want to be in!
With the surge in popularity of Marie Kondo and her professional organizing method, the KonMari Method, has this affected your business?
The Marie Kondo craze has impacted me when it comes to folding a shirt, that’s for sure! The t-shirt filing system is brilliant and blows everyone away when I show them. No longer will you pile your shirts up, only to wear the first 2 on the top over and over again.
I think the other thing she has done is to make organizing something that’s relevant. With her book and show, she’s increased awareness that many people need help and that it’s okay to ask for it.
Do you have any career highlights you’d like to share?
I had the honor to work on a room for a Canadian chef who gave me full creative control.
I had a deadline and an idea of how the room was to function. Other than that, the room was done without any input until the big reveal 5 weeks later (with the understanding that anything they were not happy with would be corrected). Nothing was changed. Nothing!
I feel very proud that I was able to give them a multi-functional room that is now loved and used daily instead of a room where old furniture went to die.
What’s one advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your career as an interior decorator, color consultant, and professional organizer?
I think most people have a really hard time with change, even though they say they want it.
Most people are afraid to be the trendsetter. As a designer, you are dying to try something new with every client. You have to respect the client more than you want to push your own creative boundaries. That being said, you still have to push a little….they usually love it in the end.
Do you have any questions for Lianne? Leave us a comment!